Netflix is breathing life into an underwater video game franchise fans long thought had drowned. The streamer just secured the rights to Bioshock, the Take-Two Interactive game set in a decrepit, underwater city called Rapture.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, no writer or director is yet attached but the two companies have been working on a deal for almost a year, which itself comes after about a decade since the last time a Bioshock movie put its head above water. Don’t forget about 12 years ago, it looked like Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski was going to bring the game to the big screen, but that ended up fizzling away.
Netflix reportedly wants to develop Bioshock as a “cinematic universe” which seems both exciting and odd, especially because the streamer has found success in making games like The Witcher into longer series. Bioshock would certainly fit either format, with its rich history, extended mysteries, and Big Daddies (the name of the most common villains in the franchise, mutants in giant diver suits).
With the rights secured, now begins the long process of actually turning this into a reality. A struggle that didn’t only deter Verbinski, but director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who also got very close to making Bioshock for it to ultimately fall through. Video game adaptations can be tough, with the developers obviously very precious about how their creations are handled. That’s a big part of why there are so many cases (such as this week’s release, Uncharted) of too many cooks in the kitchen, which then can lead to delays and, eventually, a product that’s watered down. But not in that good Bioshock way.
For the franchise to really work, Bioshock has to be shocking. It has to be dark. Scary. And Netflix’s relative freedom in regards to content could be a blessing in being able to bring the series’ more disturbing visuals to the screen.